Ford Childress, who accepted West Virginia's scholarship offer in early April, came back to the Mountain State this weekend to participate in a pair of one-day camps. That gave him the chance to get a preview of things to come.
"It felt good to work on the field and see the coaches I'll be playing for in the future," the rangy passer said.
Childress, along with approximately ten other quarterbacks, spent the camp sessions going through many of the same drills that West Virginia's quarterbacks worked through during the spring. Ball security, footwork and downfield vision are some of the items the drills are designed to improve, and along with individual instruction from the West Virginia coaching staff, each of the passers received tips to make them better at their position.
For an accomplished passer such as Childress, there are times when such instruction might clash with something he has learned or done in the past. Coming off a junior season in which he threw for 3,152 yards and 28 touchdowns, it would be understandable if he thought he had at least some things about the position figured out. However, he indicated he is open to all instruction.
"If I hear something like that, I try to adapt to it and figure out which way is better for me, and which one works," he said. "I try to make it work with what I am doing."
During the camp, Childress demonstrated the quick release and tight spirals that made him a highly-prized recruiting target. It is difficult, given the unfamiliarity that exists between the quarterbacks and receivers in the camp, to make too many judgments on the results of one-on-one work at the end of camp, but Childress dropped several nice touch passes on deep balls and was very accurate on most of his attempts.
"It's tough to throw to all those different receivers, but you just have to work through it," he said.
With his camp visit wrapped up, Childress now turns his attention to his final senior season at Kincaid High School.
"I'll be doing workouts for 7-on-7 with my high school team. We are in a league with the other Houston teams and we play in a state tournament. I like 7-on-7 a lot. It's true that I know no one is going to blitz me and I'm not going to get hit, but the intensity is still there."
For his senior season, Childress has two goals – one personal, one team-oriented – that he wants to achieve.
"First, I want to win our championship again," he stated. "We look pretty good. We return a lot of offensive starters, but lost a couple of key guys on defense. But I still think we can do really well and win the championship again. We have a great defensive coordinator, and I think we will bounce back. Personally, my goal is to improve my footwork. I need to work on that a lot. I want to have quick feet and better pocket awareness."
Childress, along with the other quarterbacks at the camp, went through several drills designed to help signal-callers improve just that area of the game, and he plans to take that work home with him as part of his improvement plan.
"I will definitely will use some of those drills," he said of the practice routines he learned. "I think those will help me a lot."